The Basics of Los Angeles California Child Support Arrears Law
If you live in Los Angeles and pay child support, you need to be aware of the severe penalties for failing to pay on time. Falling into arrears under required child support payments could possibly cost you your driving privileges, your professional license, and thousands of dollars in interest. This article provides some basic information about the child support system in Los Angeles, California and how it applies to parents in the area.
California Child Support Arrears LawMany Los Angeles residents are shocked to learn just how far the state and the county can go to collect back child support and make fathers and mothers pay what they owe. Whether you have always paid your child support on time and have recently fallen on hard times or were constantly struggle to pay, it is important to understand the penalties for falling into arrears. The consequences of finding yourself in arrears of a child support order in Los Angeles can be quite severe, but there are some things you can do to lessen the burden. License suspension One of the strongest tactics Los Angeles officials have at their disposal is license suspension. Parents who fall into arrears on their child support orders can have their licenses suspended until they pay. This obviously includes drivers licenses and many drivers have found that their licenses have been suspended. This is a serious problem in Los Angeles where getting to work or school without a car can be quite difficult. The license suspension provisions of the child support laws also extend to business and professional licenses, and that can cause an additional financial burden for parents who owe child support. Those who run their own businesses could find their licenses, and their livelihood, on hold until they pay the child support they owe. Those who need professional licenses to do their job, like hairstylists, barbers, used car dealers, and even lawyers, could find themselves unable to work until they rectify their child support issues.
Accrued interest, Improper service, and What You Can Do NowMany parents who do rack up arrearages are shocked at not just the tactics used to collect a debt but the amount of the debt itself. Many well-meaning, but financially strapped parents, can keep careful track of the amount of child support they owe. Those parents often plan to pay that back child support when they receive their tax returns, bonuses from their jobs, and other financial windfalls. Unfortunately, however, those parents are often surprised when they checked the arrearages that have been accumulated. That is because once a California child support order goes into arrears, it begins to accumulate interest. The current interest rate on child support arrearages is a whopping 10%. That interest can add up fast causing the original amount to balloon and become even harder to repay. Interest calculations can be even more significant for child support arrearages that stretch back many years. A parent who has neglected to pay child support for 10 years would find the original amount had nearly doubled due to the ongoing accumulation of interest. The interest penalty is obviously designed to encourage the one-time payment of child support and discourage arrearages, but it can also end up causing a financial burden on parents who have not been able to pay for legitimate reasons. Improper service Those heavy interest penalties can also cause a problem for parents who received improper service regarding their arrearages. In legal terms improper service simply means that proper legal procedures were not followed with regard to notifying that individual about his or her child support obligations. In some cases the amount of child support ordered may have been unrealistic given the financial means of the individual. In other cases the order may have simply being incorrect, but whatever the reason, mistakes do happen and the Los Angeles child support system tends to make the consequences of those errors quite severe.Another problem can arise when one parent makes child support payments directly to the parents' custody of the child. Lawyers tend to discourage this type of informal arrangement - and for good reason. Many times parents receiving the payment fail to record it properly and fail to report it to the child support administrators. That can cause those authorities to report the parent in arrears, even though he or she has been making the payments all along. What can you do now? No matter how you got to this point, if you're facing a substantial obligation due to child support arrearages, it is important to follow the right steps. The child support system is complicated, and officials generally act in the best interest of the child involved. Those who feel that they were never properly notified of the child support obligation should contact an attorney who specializes in family law. A good attorney, knowledgeable in child support arrears issues, such as attorney Jacob Kiani at the Los Angeles Family Law Firm of Jacob I. Kiani, will be able to sort through the paperwork, court filings and other documents to determine whether or not the notification of child support payment obligations was proper. If the individual was never properly notified of his or her child support obligation, there are things that can be done to help the individual affected by this lack of notification of the child support payment obligation.